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Will the iPod brushfire engulf our industry?

From the Toronto Star:

…one newspaper headline last week blared, “Radio feels heat from iPod generation.” This isn’t “heat” it’s a brush fire that threatens to engulf the industry. But the radio sector has even fuelled it. It abandoned the future audience — youth — by pandering to the boomers with all those indistinguishable soft classic lite mix jack hits formats.

This is something I have talked about a lot lately – heading up the demographic curve to 35+-land and abandoning those under 35 (and especially under 25) to their own devices, the most obvious of which is the device called the iPod.

The common refrain is “we can’t sell the younger demos.” But do you mean you can’t sell them or you can’t sell them as easily or for as much as the older folks right now?

Historically, radio has always counted on its sole possession of the audio entertainment and information pipes to cushion itself against a deliberate ignorance of under-25’s who will, eventually, grow into the “money demo” of 25-54.

But once we as an industry train a generation to need us not at all, once we train them to lean on readily available and effective and even – gulp – fashionable alternatives, why should their habits change as they get older? Why should they come back to radio when they never grew to love it in the first place?

They won’t.

What we sow we shall reap. Tell THAT to Wall Street.

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